A change in company culture is essential to becoming digitally agile
In my previous post, I zoomed right in on one of the cornerstones of digital agility, namely low-code tools, and how they improve product development. In this post, I look at what needs to change to foster a digitally agile company culture.
Introducing digital agility into a company’s culture is not the responsibility of the IT department. It’s a fundamental change to all aspects of the business, one that will only succeed if it’s adopted company-wide and across all functions. The organization needs to be agile, not do agile.
A digitally agile culture not only manages change, but embraces and takes full advantage of technological investments.
To establish a digitally agile culture, you need to have the right people on board, which means making adjustments – from hiring, all the way through to leadership.
1. Change the way you hire
The ideal employee used to be one who checked all of these boxes:
✅ Degree from a university
✅ 5 Years of experience
✅ Proven skills on the relevant software platform
But, digital agility means changing your hiring practices to attract a different set of skills:
- Creative people who look for multiple answers
- Problem solvers who come up with various solutions and have the ability to predict how outcomes would vary
- Adaptable people that, when faced with an obstacle, take challenges in their stride
- Strong leadership skills
- People with high EQ (emotional intelligence) that can express their emotions, are good listeners, have strong relationships, make compromises in conflict situations and know when to say “No”.
There will still be a skills gap – it’s just a different shape
2. Change the way you manage talent
You don’t have to start with an entirely new workforce. Rather identify your high-potential staff, and put them onto a fast-track mentorship and training program. This not only expands their capabilities but also boosts morale, which further impacts employee retention.
According to CareerBuilder, companies are hiring for potential – 66 percent of employers said they will train and hire workers who may not have all the skills they need, but have potential.
To bring staff up-to-speed, implement a program of contextual learning. Contextual learning involves walking a user through a process step-by-step, so learning and doing happen at the same time.
Build confidence and capability through mentorship – more senior staff members share knowledge, skills and perspective.
3. Change the way you lead
Agile is not just a methodology for project managers, the entire leadership of a business must adopt the right mindset.
The traditional leader-follower model where one decides and the others execute is changing to more of a collaborative, strength-based model.
Where leadership might have meant dictating the way forward, digital agility needs leaders with a different approach:
- Define the vision. What does success look like?
- Motivate. What is important to the people on the team?
- Support. What does the team need in order to do this in the most effective way?
- Gain feedback and adapt. Where do we stand and why?
- Remove obstacles for continuous improvement. What is preventing us from reaching our goal?
The primary role of an agile leader is to create alignment!
Traditional leadership: The leader knows the goal and decides how to achieve it. The workers produce the output, but have no idea why.
Agile leadership: The leader defines the vision and goal, while the team collaborates on designing and developing the best solution.
Agile leadership is a full circle that involves leaders guiding and aligning self-managing staff that are constantly mentored and trained.